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Wearable devices are increasingly able to gauge health and provide metrics that can improve life insurance policy development.
The wearable technology market is expanding, especially among younger generations. The Global Research and Data Analytics department of RGA recently published two essays focused on the impact of wearable technology on the life insurance industry.
In the first, “Wearable Technology in Life Insurance: Knowledge Is Power,” Kristen Kenney and Kaitlyn Fleigle explore how wearable devices can empower insurers and consumers alike with knowledge. Insurers can utilize wearable technology to better understand insurance customer health habits and risks and can use this knowledge to develop products that best fit consumer needs. Wearable devices can provide support for insurers to create more customized products for customers and provide day-to-day snapshots of user health and potentially create a more dynamic underwriting process.
Wearable technology also provides consumers with more detailed information about their health and the financial implications associated with certain health habits. With better knowledge of their health risks and susceptibility to certain conditions and diseases, consumers can take control of their health and adopt healthier habits that could, in turn, give them premium discounts. However, despite the knowledge wearables can provide, there are challenges with the incorporation of wearables in the life insurance market. Lack of consumer engagement and inconsistent wearable use can be problematic. In addition, consumers who have fallen victim to data breaches may hesitate to share their private health data with their insurer.
When considering these challenges, one may ask: is the promise of wearable technology too good to be true? In the second essay, “Wearable Technology in Life Insurance: Gadget or Gimmick?” Julianne Callaway further explores the potential of incorporating wearables in life insurance products.
Incorporating wearable devices into insurance programs can allow insurers to better connect with their policyholders beyond premium and claim payment touchpoints. Wearable technology is a versatile tool that can help life insurers remain relevant for both aging baby boomers and digital-savvy millennials. Wearables can also be used to engage policyholders with incentive programs and policy discounts.
Data collected from these devices can enhance the underwriting process and support future product development. These devices also have the potential to inform consumer health behavior and thus prevent and identify serious health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Integrating wearables into health products can change the nature of the relationship between insurers and consumers from merely transactional to become one of partnership, where both parties are invested in improved well-being.
Both essays propose ways in which wearable technology can support the development of relevant insurance products that are tailored to address the needs of distinct consumer groups and promote healthy lifestyle habits.
Stay tuned for future releases of our quarterly newsletter to see where the next innovations will take us.